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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the act when Muslims all over the world must ritually fast and abstain from certain acts or foods and liquids which are prohibited during this holy time of year. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam which all Muslims are expected to follow, the other four pillars of Islam are Faith (Shahadah); Prayer (Salah), Charitable Giving (Zakah), and the holy Pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj). Ramadan takes place during the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and will therefore differ from year to year when using the more common 12 month calendar than the Islamic lunar calendar. Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon. To find out when is Ramadan in 2011, you can find the information on the top of our home page. Fasting begins from dawn to sunset. When a Muslim first begins to fast they will tend to wake up before sunrise to eat, this is known as Sehri or Suhoor. Often in Muslim households, there will be a generous breakfast before sunrise, as eating and drinking is not allowed. When sunset approaches and it is nearing the time for the fast to be opened some Muslims will gather to have Iftari parties to open their fasts together. Families come together and even extended families so this is also a great time for get together. It is customary to open your fasts with dates as this was what the Prophet Mohammed (PBH) is said to have eaten to open his fast with. Fasting is much more than denying yourself food or drinks. It is a time of spiritual reflection and prayer. During this month Muslims will be thinking of others who are less fortunate than themselves, those from all over the world who have extreme difficulty even finding food or are in poverty. Muslims should also spend this time reflecting about their religion and what it means to them. Prayer is important during Ramadan and is used to focus a Muslims spiritual belief towards their God and pray for thanks for all that they have and for others all over the world who are less fortunate as no matter how badly you may feel that your present circumstances may be, there will always be someone worse off. Some guidelines for fasting during the holy month of Ramadan: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. No eating or drinking from dawn to sunset No chewing gum No smoking (or other type of drugs or alcohol which is not permitted any ways in Islam) No sexual contact between husband and wife during the hours of fasting Not required for women during menstrual period Not required of the mentally ill or those of physical ill health Not partaking in activities which are considered haram Not required of children until they reach puberty

Helpful advice for fasting during the holy month of Ramadan: 1. It is advisable to drink plenty of water before starting your fasts 2. Try to avoid strenuous exercise that could cause you to perspire too much. Without the ability to drink to replenish the liquid lost you will be endangering your health which could cause you to even faint or feel physically unwell. Exercise in the evening after you open your fasts. 3. Avoid foods such as potato chips (crisps) or other salty or dry foods which could cause you to get very thirsty later in the day 4. Avoid direct sunlight when possible as perspiration could cause you to get very thirsty or make you faint/ unwell. When Ramadan has finished and the fasting has ceased, Eid ul Fitr is celebrated. It is anticipated all month and is celebrated differently all over the world but the general feelings are on family and the local religious community. Usually families will gather at the house of the senior member of the family and gifts of cash or clothes are given to the children. As the festivities carry on through out the day and night, this will mark the end of a very special time of the year in the Muslim calendar.

Ramadan Timetable by City

England Bath Brighton Birmingham Bristol Bradford Cambridge Chester Canterbury Chichester Carlisle Coventry Crawley Durham Derby Exeter Ely Gloucester Hereford Kingston upon Hull Lancaster Lichfield London Lincoln Leeds Leicester Liverpool Luton Manchester Newcastle upon Tyne Norwich Nottingham Oxford Peterborough Preston Plymouth Portsmouth Reading Ripon Sheffield Stoke-on-Trent Salisbury St Albans Salford

Slough Southampton Sunderland Truro Wakefield Winchester Wells Wolverhampton Westminster Worcester Scotland Aberdeen Dundee Edinburgh Glasgow Inverness Stirling Wales Bangor Cardiff St Davids Swansea